Friday, February 4, 2011


According to CBS MoneyWatch, there are   5 reasons not to get a law degree !

These five reasons are very articulately expressed and raises questions on whether or not many pre law students know about what they are getting themselves into. Many law schools misrepresent their employment figures, there is a glut of attorneys, the tuition is expensive, and the opportunity costs do not offer a solid ROI.

One of the people who commented on the article is a graduate of a Top 10 law school in the country. She even goes on to discuss the grim financial realities for law school graduates and has a blunt way of describing the situation,

 "If people knew just how horrendous the employment situation was at my law school, one of the top ten in the nation, they would not even think of going to a 3rd or 4th tier law school, i.e., outside the top 100...

Again, this is happening at a top ten law school, where, with a lot of luck, I have managed to land the job I wanted. If you can get into a top fourteen law school (fourteen has historically been the magic number), law school is probably still a gamble worth taking. A top-fifty, tier one school might also make sense if you can beat out 75-90% of your peers there. But whomever is thinking of going to a 3rd or 4th tier school, I would seriously advise to reconsider. You will struggle madly for three years, only to realize at graduation that you have just been digging your own financial grave."

Speaking of graves, the BLS published its January jobs report today, with only a grave 36,000 jobs created last month. It seems that much of the data was not properly recorded since there was a massive snow storm and blizzard in the midwest that has caused so much havoc and many employers did not get a chance to submit their responses to the BLS survey. Ironically, the US unemployment rate dropped to 9 % from 9.4% in December. This is the lowest level of unemployment in the past 21 months, so hopefully the worst of the "Great Recession" is over!

Many people are still unemployed and frustrated with their financial situation. This not only applies to unemployed legal professionals, but also everyone in corporate America across the nation. Many are scared and frustrated of the what the future will bring. Many don't know how to pay rent, put food on the table, or provide for their families. Sadly, many are even turning to suicide. To all the undergraduate students reading this blog, please think long and hard before taking out massive student loans to gamble away your future.

Recently, on other student loan scamblogs, I have read about young people who talk about suicide. It is very scary and not a laughing matter. You may think I am just a poor unemployed paralegal, but I don't want you to end up contemplating suicide because of your own financial difficulties from legal education. Even if you are an undergraduate who has a lot of student loans and can't get a job after college, don't run away to law school as an "Escape"! Hiding in school for 3 more years, deferring your undergrad loans and taking on more debt won't make your life any easier. You may think it will be tough to pay back loans and struggle financially, but taking out 200k in law school debt from a non elite law school won't solve your problems. Sure, you can defer your loans, but it all catches up to you.

Don't be afraid of the joining the real world after college and remember, there is always a way out of your problems!

-The Poor Paralegal


  1. This is an excellent Post.

    I made reference to it on TTR and SMS.

    Thanks for posting it.

  2. This is a high-quality post. Administrators and faculty members of these third tier commodes and fourth tier trash cans are reprehensible. They KNOW that they are teaching students who have about a 25%-35% chance of practicing law. (Many of these students will start their own firms.) The majority of the class will not practice law.

    It simply doesn't make sense to take out $120K-$195K in additional non-dischargeable debt, so that you can make $35K-$45K upon graduation. This is if you are lucky enough to find a job, by the way.

    The situation at top ten schools will get worse, as more large U.S. law firms continue to rely on foreign lawyers and non-lawyers to handle discovery. Also, big corporations are not keen on paying for the legal training of new associates. Of course, the academics have not changed to the marketplace. "Let's keep teaching 'em with the case method. That keeps our costs down!"

  3. This is a great post and I know many other unemployed grads thinking about suicide. It's awful and the aba is doing nothing about it, btw you have an amazing blog and keep up the good work

  4. Underemployed "contract" lawyer here hanging on by a shred. I'll just be happy to make a dent on my student loans, which after almost 10 years of repayment is now in the $120,000 range (that includes undergrad). It was nearly $200,000 previously. This is actually not a bad deal compared with today's rates when you take into account that my law school now charges DOUBLE the tuition of my final year, i.e., $20,000/yr to $40,000/yr, after not even a decade since graduation. At the same time, law school salaries have not kept pace with the rampant tuition inflation, that is if you can even get a decent job. The cost of law school today is insane and unless you get lucky and land a stable, high-paying job (or you have rich parents footing the tuition bill), you are gambling away your future. Even if you get a good job, you might only be able to keep it for only 2-5 years. Law firms are like revolving doors when it comes to associates. Once you get shown the door, you might not be able to find another job paying a similar amount. Law is an extremely unstable profession.

  5. I'm late in posting my remark, but this is one of your best posts to date.

    Problem here is that people are studying and entering into professions just for the money, and people do not realize that the average attorney does not earn over $100K, nor the average paralegal earns over $60K. And not everyone is cut out to be an attorney, or a paralegal. However as one commenter noted, it is egregious that the ABA is taking a real hands off approach in dealing with the oversaturation problem. The ABA has created this problem. There are way too many law schools in the US now and practically anyone can be admitted into a law school.

    I have a friend who was recently accepted to study veterinarian medicine in Cornell. Guess what? There are only 28 colleges/universities accredited for veterinarian medicine. It is more competitive to be accepted into a school in studying veterinarian medicine in the US in comparison to being admitted into law school.

    But aside from the incredible amount of debt law grads are strapped with, and problems with lack of jobs, the quality of legal services in the US has significantly deteriorated due to the ABA giving no thought in what schools are accredited. Right now, the average person has no idea if the lawyer he/she retained is some fourth rate, My Cousin Vinnie, type who graduated from a 4T school and passed the Bar on the third/fourth try, and that is outrageous. Some people have no business going to law school, or even studying to become a paralegal. However thanks to the ABA accrediting any school with running water and a fax machine, practically anyone can get accepted into law school now. Problem is what happens after these students graduate?